Egg freezing techniques in young women have shown to produce pregnancy rates, resulting in the birth of healthy babies, similar to IVF (in vitro fertilization) cycles which use fresh eggs.

This report, by the Practice Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), replaced an earlier report from 2008 which indicated that the technique was experimental and should only be proposed under that circumstance.

After observing almost 1,000 papers on the subject, although there were not many randomized controlled trials, The Committee found plenty of proof to “demonstrate acceptable success rates in young highly selected populations.”

However, the age of the female at the time of egg freezing is an extremely significant factor, The Committee cautioned. “Success rates with oocyte cryopreservation appear to decline with maternal age consistent with the clinical experience with fresh oocytes.”

According to the report, egg freezing may be a practical alternative source of tissues for a family needing donor eggs to have kids. It may also be used for fertility preservation for individuals who are left infertile after being treated for other diseases, genetic conditions, or IVF treatment obstructed by the unforeseen inability to obtain sperm.

The Committee has yet to endorse general use of egg freezing for elective use. They claim that there is not enough information on safety, cost-effectiveness, efficacy, and the possible emotional issues it may cause.

The report stated: “Marketing this technology for the purpose of deferring childbearing may give women false hope and encourage women to delay childbearing. Patients who wish to pursue this technology should be carefully counseled.

Oocyte cryopreservation is a great technology that scientists are still improving, said Eric Widra, MD, Chair of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) Practice Committee, and it should not be looked at as experimental anymore. The pregnancy rates, as well as the well-being of the resulting kids, are now similar to those of IVF with fresh eggs.

Samantha Pfeifer, MD, Chair of the ASRM Practice Committee explained:

“While a careful review of the literature indicates egg freezing is a valid technique for young women for whom it is medically indicated, we cannot at this time endorse its widespread elective use to delay childbearing. This technology may not be appropriate for the older woman who desires to postpone reproduction.”

Dolores J. Lamb, PhD, President of ASRM, concluded:

“The work of our Practice Committee is testament to our commitment to advancing science and clinical care in reproductive medicine. We are pleased that this report was developed in accordance with the new Institute of Medicine standards for clinical practice guidelines and will be submitted to the National Guidelines Clearinghouse.”

Written by Sarah Glynn